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Cash boost for groups which tackle inequality

A diverse range of projects such as healthy eating clubs, money advice centres and grow your own gardens will receive funding to tackle poverty and inequality.

The Scottish Government’s £12.6 million People and Communities Fund is being allocated to 197 groups across Scotland that are changing disadvantaged communities by providing advice, training or voluntary opportunities.

Social Justice Secretary Alex Neil announced the funding on a visit to Urban Roots in Glasgow, which will receive £72,000 to set up four community garden hubs.

Projects are funded if they demonstrate how they can tackle poverty and promote social inclusion within communities.

Mr Neil said: “Every community in Scotland has different challenges and aspirations and there is no one-size fits all approach to tackling poverty.

“That’s why our People and Communities Fund is giving communities the power and confidence to shape their own futures and address inequalities more effectively.

“The fund allows community groups the chance to identify problems in their area and the funding to provide solutions.

“Since the Fund launched in 2012, we have seen the real difference it is making by empowering communities to deliver new skills, training and volunteering projects that fit local priorities. This £12.6 million will give more communities more of a voice.”

Urban Roots received £170,000 from the People and Communities Fund between 2012-15 to develop community gardens, growing spaces, local clean-ups, biodiversity improvements, recycling and cycling projects. These initiatives have helped build skills locally.

Les Rice from Urban Roots said: “The People and Communities Fund has enabled Urban Roots to set up community gardens in numerous locations across the Southside of Glasgow, empowering local communities by improving their physical health and mental wellbeing, reducing food poverty and increasing employability prospects through training and skills sharing.

“The People and Communities Fund allocation for 2015/16 will allow these communities to build on the previous three years’ hard work by expanding the services offered at four key locations in Priesthill, Castlemilk, Toryglen and East Pollokshields.

“These new community resilience hubs will be spaces for action, inspiration and learning, and will help tackle poverty and promote social inclusion.”

Source: Third Force News


Mull community hydro gets green light

Green Energy Mull (GEM) is to complete construction of its first community hydroelectricity scheme after securing a loan from an ethical lender.

The community development organisation managed to secure a £500,000 loan from Charity Bank on top of £450,000 raised through a community share offer and £450,000 from Scottish Enterprise’s Renewable Energy Investment Fund.

The 400KW small-scale scheme, which is scheduled to open in spring 2015, is being built on the Allt Achadh na Moine burn in the Garmony Forest on the Isle of Mull, on a 40 year lease under Forestry Commission Scotland’s National Forest Land Scheme.

Expected to generate more than 1,000MWh of electricity annually, sufficient to power 280 homes, the scheme will reduce the island’s carbon footprint by 450 tonnes.

Conceived by Sustainable Mull & Iona and Mull and Iona Community Trust, the project received overwhelming majority support in a local community ballot.

This led to the formation of Green Energy Mull - a community benefit company.

Investors have equal voting powers irrespective of the size of their investment and all net profits will be invested in the local community through the charitable Waterfall Fund.

The management of GEM will remain in the control of the local community.

Moray Finch, chairman of GEM, said: “We are grateful for the work that Charity Bank has put in to make this important project happen. 

“We are hoping to complete the project and commission the scheme early in 2015. 

"Charity Bank – a social enterprise itself – was set up to finance social sector organisations like ours and has a long history of lending on the island.”

Derek Mackay MSP, islands minister, said: “The Garmony Hydro Project is an impressive venture – with the ability to power 280 homes once complete – and will be a real asset to the Isle of Mull. Through Green Energy Mull, it is estimated that over the first 20 years of the life of the project, the scheme will generate a turnover of over £5 million, with net proceeds of up to £2.4 million going into the Waterfall Fund for a variety of projects that will benefit the community.

He added: “Organisations like Green Energy Mull are an important part of defining our distinctive approach to Scotland’s future energy provision by providing vital learning across extremely challenging areas, such as adding value to local economies, matching local supply and demand, and addressing fuel poverty.”

Charity Bank has previously lent to the Mull Fishermens’ Association to restore its pier at Tobermory and Mull and Iona Community Trust to acquire premises for the former Mull Butcher’s Shop. 

The bank is currently lending to the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust, enabling it to make essential repairs to its visitor centre.

Source: Third Force News



Further £200m to support health & social care integration

Funding of £200 million is to be allocated over two years to support the implementation of health and social care integration, the Health Secretary has announced today.

The investment will extend the current Integrated Care Fund into 2016/17 and 2017/18, and comes on top of £100 million of funding already allocated for 2015/16. The money will be distributed among the 32 local NHS and social care partnerships that have been set up as part of the move towards integrated services.

The Integrated Care Fund forms part of over half a billion pounds of Government investment over the next three years that will be used to support integration, including £100 million over three years for delayed discharge, and £30 million over three years for Telehealth.

On 1 April 2015, all partnerships across the country are required by legislation to have their plans in place detailing how they will bring together health and local authority care services, to be fully implemented by 1 April 2016.

The Integrated Care Fund supports the implementation of these plans, giving partnerships the resources to focus on preventative care and early intervention as well as support for people with multiple and long-term conditions.

Health Secretary Shona Robison made the announcement during a visit this morning to the Wester Hailes Healthy Living Centre - a joint NHS Lothian and City of Edinburgh Council facility that provides a range of integrated health, social care and family support services.

Ms Robison said: “The integration of health and social care services is one of the most ambitious programmes of work this Government has undertaken, and one which we believe will deliver sustainable health and social care services for the future that are centred around the needs of patients.

“Only now are other parts of the UK waking up to the need for change, and the need for integrated services, which in Scotland we have been working towards for the last few years. We are now only weeks away from every part of the country having their integrated plans in place – setting out how NHS boards and local authorities are going to work together to provide care for people in their area.

“Such a substantial change to the way our health service is run needs substantial investment to make it a success, and I’m pleased to be able to announce today an additional £200 million over two years to help partnerships achieve their ambitions.

“But this money will not work in isolation. Across the Government we are investing well over half a billion pounds in projects that will help make health and social care integration a success, such as investment in telehealth initiatives and building up mental health care capacity.

“Integration is about improving people’s quality of life, particularly those people with long-term conditions. We know the demographics of our society are changing. By 2037 we expect the number of people with a long term condition to rise by 83 per cent and these people need help to manage their conditions at home and in the community.

“Integration will also help improve the effectiveness of the whole NHS and social care system, which can be disjointed at times. We know that people waiting to be discharged from hospital puts extra pressures on other areas of the NHS, such as Accident and Emergency.

“The new partnerships will manage almost £8 billion of health and social care resources, including the resources currently associated with 96 per cent of delayed discharge and 83 per cent of unplanned admission in the over 75s.

“We also now know that across Scotland, two per cent of the population account for around half of all hospital and prescribing resource. Partnerships will be focusing on making sure those people who have complex support needs are getting the care they need to support their independence for as long as possible.

“Health and social care integration is long-term change but it will also have immediate benefits. This vision, and our investment, will help to ensure that people across Scotland have access to the highest standards of care - in the right place and at the right time.”

Source: Scottish Government


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